Echtener trail

2 hours (40.0 km)
Managed by: Recreatieschap Drenthe

A varied cycling trail that departs from the town of Echten. Enjoy a variety of landscapes, including forest, heathland, stream valleys and panoramic views. You’ll also cycle your way through Hoogeveen, a city that started its life as a peat colony.

You’ll set off from the angerdorf of Echten, which is still home to a 15th century manor. As soon as you leave the village, you’ll find yourself immersed in nature. In the Echtenerveld, part of the domain of Boswachterij Ruinen, forestland alternates with heathland, peat bogs, fens and sand drifts.

Looming in the distance, you can already see Hoo…

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A varied cycling trail that departs from the town of Echten. Enjoy a variety of landscapes, including forest, heathland, stream valleys and panoramic views. You’ll also cycle your way through Hoogeveen, a city that started its life as a peat colony.

You’ll set off from the angerdorf of Echten, which is still home to a 15th century manor. As soon as you leave the village, you’ll find yourself immersed in nature. In the Echtenerveld, part of the domain of Boswachterij Ruinen, forestland alternates with heathland, peat bogs, fens and sand drifts.

Looming in the distance, you can already see Hoogeveen, a city that started its life as a peat colony. Hoogeveen was founded by Roelof van Echten, when he established the 5000 Morgen (hectare) Company to dig peat. The city was built around the canal, which was dug to make the area accessible. On the Hoofdstraat, in Hoogeveen’s city centre, you can now find the meandering ‘Cascade’, harking back to that very canal.

The northern part of the Steenberger Oosterveld has truly earned its nickname, ‘Little Switzerland’, thanks to its dramatic height differences.

When you reach Zuidwolde, it’s time to take a break with a delicious cup of coffee and a local Drenthe delicacy. You’ll also find a special museum here - ‘De Wemme’, a cultural, historical & hand cart museum.

The trail departs from Echten, at node 75 on the corner of the Koekangerweg and Ruinerweg. There is ample free parking nearby, at Huus met de Belle among others, but you can also use the signs to start the trail elsewhere.

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Sights on this route

75

Zuidwolderweg 2 a
7932 PP Echten

Zuidwolderweg 2 a
7932 PP Echten

Zuidwolderweg 1
Echten
29 63 10 62

Burg.Tonckenstraat 49
7921 KB Zuidwolde
64 65 11

Oosterveldweg
7921 KB Zuidwolde
13 12 35

Alteveerstraat 70
7907 AB Hoogeveen

Schutstraat 147
Hoogeveen

Raadhuisplein 1
7901 BP Hoogeveen
33

Hoofdstraat 122
Hoogeveen

Hoofdstraat 95
7902 EC Hoogeveen

Van Echtenstraat 37
7902 EK Hoogeveen

Grote Kerkstraat 40
7902 CK Hoogeveen

Kleine Kerkstraat
7902 Hoogeveen

Grote Kerkstraat 39
7902 CE Hoogeveen

Hoofdstraat 15
7902 EA Hoogeveen

Hoofdstraat 3
7902 EA Hoogeveen

Brinkstraat 5
7902 AC Hoogeveen

Pesserstraat 24
7901 LC Hoogeveen
31

Kinholtweg 5
7931 TN Fluitenberg
34 61 78
75

Directions

75
  • Rechten, where you’ll set off on your cycling tour, is an old medieval village that dates back to 1180, when the area was still owned by the monastery of Ruinen. In the 13th century, descendants of the van Coevorden family settled here, building Huize Echten. The oldest part of the current manor probably dates back to the 15th century, but the gardens surrounding the house are much more recent, dating from 1992. For more tourist information about the area, look no further than ‘t HUUS met de BELLE country shop.
  • You don’t have to travel far from Echten to be immersed in beautiful nature. The Echternerveld is part of the Ruinen Forests, an area covering 1,000 hectares of forest and heathland that was created in 1940. The forests consist largely of conifers and were left untouched by the peat industry. As a result, the wet heathland vegetation of the Gijsselterkoelen and Pesserkoelen were preserved, as well as the sand drifts of the Echtenerzand, with its Juniper bushes and capricious pines. On the heaths, you’ll encounter adders, grass snakes and the viviparous lizard.
  • Once you’re clear of the forest, you’ll pass the villages of Kalenberg and Fluitenberg, which were both built on a shingle hill created in the most recent Ice Age. Fluitenberg has probably been inhabited for a very long time, as evidenced by the 7 prehistoric burial mounds found in the surrounding area. Originally, the Oude Diep was known as the Vleute, giving the nearby town of Vleutenberg its name.
  • The Oude Diep stream valley is blessed with awe-inspiring panoramas. Make sure to take a quick break to drink in the meandering stream and listen to the babbling water. The Oude Diep is one of the many streams that originate in the high centre of Drenthe, before making their way to the lower-lying borders of the province. Various parties have made efforts to restore the natural value of the Oude Diep and to develop new nature here. Jump on your bike and cycle past the Oude Diep. In the distance, the city of Hoogeveen is already beckoning.
  • Hoogeveen was founded by Roelof van Echten, who bought a large peat bog near Zuidwolde in 1625. To dig the area for peat, he established the 5000 Morgen (hectare) company, as well as having a canal dug to make the area more accessible. In doing so, he laid the foundations for Hoogeveen. Take a quick break from your tour to sit back and relax on a patio café in the Hoofdstraat. Here, in Hoogeveen’s commercial heart, you can now find the meandering ‘Cascade’, a work of heart harking back to the canal.
  • Starting from the Middle ages, peat was used as fuel in homes and for industrial activities until approximately 1900, when coal emerged as a popular source of fuel. This also prompted the inhabitants of Hoogeveen to look for new ways to earn a livelihood, switching to agriculture, animal husbandry and industry. In the 1960s, Hoogeveen was briefly the fastest growing municipality in the Netherlands!
  • At Schutstraat 147, you’ll find the old Jewish synagogue, which is currently used by the ‘De Schutse’ Baptist Community. A monument near the cemetery commemorates Hoogeveen’s Jewish inhabitants who did not survive the Second World War, accompanied by ‘Ner Tamied’, the eternal light.
  • You’ll now leave Hoogeveen, cycling back towards the former peat colonies. From the 17th century onwards, this area was home to large-scale peat extraction. After centuries upon centuries, the remnants of dead plants had formed a thick layer of peat in the marshy peat bogs. After being extracted and dried, the peat could be used as fuel. The arrival of the peat industry in the area saw the creation of new residential neighbourhoods and canals, where the peat workers first settled.
  • Just before you reach Zuidwolde, you’ll find yourself on the Steenberger Oosterveld, an area characterised by forests, heathland and cultivated land. The northern part of this area is known as ‘Little Switzerland’, owing to its picturesque height differences. At two locations in the area, cows help prevent the spread of the heathland.
  • The old Angerdorf of Zuidwolde is perched on a sand ridge that emerged during the penultimate Ice Age. The same ridge used to be home to an old road that ran from the Ommerschans to the Vechtdal, where the medieval settlement of Zuidwolde, originally named Suthwolda, lies, in an area once surrounded by vast marshlands. In the 17th century, the area was drained and reclaimed to allow for peat extraction.
  • Upon reaching Zuidwolde, it’s time to dismount for a special museum: cultural, historical & hand cart museum ‘De Wemme’. Every year, the museum puts together a new exhibition, and it’s also home to the largest collection of hand carts in the Netherlands. Head to the orchard for a wonderful sculpture exhibition or have a look next to the museum for the ‘Tin-Art’ foundry. Marvel at the changing collection of one-off pieces, as well as a large range of tin jewellery and objects.
  • It’s time to hit the pedals once more and enjoy the beautiful rural areas to the north and south of Zuidwolde. There’s still quite a bit of cycling to be done before you reach the trail’s starting point, as you pass the former sand mining town of Nijstad on your right-hand side. All you have to do now is cross the Hoogeveensche Vaart and you’ll be back in Echten.
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